Publishers Need to Focus More on Games, and Less on Online Services
There is a saying in the world that goes "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". That saying can stand for a lot of things throughout our lifetimes, and I want to stress that to companies like Ubisoft and Rockstar. Although it may be a bit different in our scenario I want accentuate this: STEAM IS GREAT, STOP TRYING TO MAKE YOUR OWN NEW THING!
Once again, Steam is amazing. A majority of games are already on there, and usually they don't force you into any unusual situations. It is a great place to play, and a great place to purchase your games without having to worry about anything.
On the other hand, we have these trolls like uPlay, Origins, and Rockstar's Social Club. How many times have you fallen in love with uPlay? Never? ...okay then. I have to give it to companies like Ubisoft, because they are damn resilient. No matter how many times I have seen them get brutally bashed for their online service, they endure the beating and continue to promote it. I guess every great boxer has to learn to take some hits, right?
Companies like EA and Ubisoft need to realize that their services are a step behind. They should solely focus on bringing great games into the market, and forget about trying to start their own services when there is already one dominating PC gamers.
Problems Time and Time Again
So this week I finally got Grand Theft Auto V for the PC, and I couldn't wait to get home to experience how beautiful it will be in 1080p and 60fps. After allocating the rest of the afternoon for the 5-6 hour download time, I finally get to start it up. I mean, I've only waited for a year and a half to bask in its glory. But no, instead I get welcomed by a Social Club error, and now my Social Club won't even launch, as it crashes after a few seconds.
This isn't the first time that Social Club didn't work. I could never connect to Social Club for those Red Dead Redemption challenges, but you have to wonder about how Steam, and the beloved Gabe Newell, would have handled this challenge.
In all the years I have been on Steam, I have never had a problem with a connection of some sort. Everything has been easy, but sadly I can't say the same for other online services.
For example, there was this time with uPlay where I was trying to enter in my code for Assassin's Creed: Black Flag, and it would repeatedly tell me that it was wrong. It made me question my sanity for a moment as I kept checking to see if what I entered in on uPlay was the code that I received on Steam. Then after another consecutive amount of tries, and after being timed out by the Ubisoft, I was infuriated as I had to keep telling myself that punching my screen wasn't a competent solution.
Aside of all the disconnection issues, and the sluggish feel of EA's Origins, my friend had another problem with the service. He bought a game on Origins, and even though he had paid for the game, he received absolutely nothing. No code to enter, and no game in his library to download. After a couple of emails later, EA told him that he just had to be patient, as the order was still processing. He received this email 2 days after the initial purchase, and it is safe to say that he never got to play Battlefield 4.
A New Service for Every Game?
At the rate we are going now, there will be a new online service for every new game. EA has Origins, Rockstar has Social Club, Blizzard has Battle.net, and Ubisoft has uPlay. If we were to play a game from any one of those companies, we would have to download their service, make a new account, and then lock the game onto their service. This isn't a practical solution for what should be connecting gamers all over the world with one another.
How many online services will there be until it's enough?
Will the whole Sid Meier's Civilization series soon too have its own service strictly for games of Civilization?
On consoles you have Xbox Live for Xbox users and PSN for PlayStation players. As long as you are connected to one of those services, you can play any game from any publisher without having to jump through any hoops. That's simple, and great not only for consumers, but gamers who want to play with their friends without having to go over hurdles for hours. They don't have to worry about 4 or 5 different passwords and usernames when they want to play a game published by EA or Ubisoft. They just sign on and invite their frends to games.
If it Ain't Broke, Don't Add Useless Obscenities
I guess the saying for us is "if it ain't broke, don't add any strange obscenities". I know that Steam isn't the perfect online service either, but we can at least agree that it is the best out of all the options listed. Although some of them bring really cool idea with them, like uPlay with their points system, they just bring along too much of a hassle for users to want to adopt them.
There are a lot of PC gamers out there, and 125 million of them are already on Steam. It's safe to say that with the majority of the people, and a vast amount of games, that Steam is doing something right.
People are in love with Valve's online service, and publishers need to recognize that. Building these new ones aren't boding well for them in the end, and they should be able to recognize that with the amount of complaints they receive on a daily basis. It's time for these companies to get together and agree to run their games on the most reliable service.